Normandy Regional Council Launches D-Day UNESCO Bid

D-DayBusyAs the main D-Day commemoration events get underway today (Thursday 06 June) a campaign is also being launched for the beaches on the Normandy coast to be recognised as a World Heritage site.

People from all over the world are backing the bid which has been given an added impetus by plans for an offshore wind farm which some believe would harm the commemorative natures of the beaches as it would be visible from the coast.

Speaking at the commemorative ceremony at Courseulles-sur-Mer Laurent Beauvais, president of Lower Normandy Regional Council urges everyone to sign the proposal which is available online.

‘This occasion marks the 69th anniversary of the Normandy landings, which is of course highly symbolic. I am very honoured that people from all over the world are backing our bid. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno beaches are symbolic destinations for visitors and they also embody the universal values of peace, liberty and reconciliation,’ said Mr Beauvais.

‘This campaign speaks to the world because the whole world comes to these beaches. They bear the scars of the Second World War but they are also a symbol of peace and reconciliation between old foes, a place where the memory of conflict has subsided,’ added Mr Beauvais.

‘The region of Lower Normandy is accepting signatures from everyone who wishes to support this proposal. We hope to gather as many signatures as possible between now and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings,’ he continued.

Among those backing the bid is the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, who signed the proposal at the head office of Lower Normandy Regional Council in Caen after attending the ceremony at Courseulles-sur-Mer.

‘We are delighted to be able to offer our support to Lower Normandy in its bid to have these historic landmarks recognised by UNESCO. President Beauvais and I recently signed a letter of intent to work more closely together and this visit is an example of the way in which our shared history unites us in our current work,’ said Mr Gorst.

‘The Normandy landings brought hope to Channel Islanders who had endured years of occupation, and the promise of liberation to our neighbours in France. Both our communities felt the impact of this historic turning point in the Second World War, and these beaches remain a powerful and important symbol of liberty,’ he added.

Mr Beauvais is urging everyone to get behind the campaign and calling upon tourist offices, hotels, restaurants, holiday homes, museums and attractions to urge visitors to get involved and back the bid by signing the proposal.

‘Around five million people come from all over the world to visit these beached of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno, the five D-Day beaches. I hope they will back us,’ added Mr Beauvais.

An application outlining why the beaches should become a World Heritage site will be sent to UNESCO next year but getting recognition is a long drawn out process that can take years. The campaign also needs to get the support of the French government. A team will be working on the application that includes the Memorial peace museum at Caen, historian Jean Quellien, a professor at the University of Caen who is an expert on the Battle of Normandy and a special scientific committee being formed for the process.

Normandy already has a number of sites recognised by UNESCO including Mont Saint Michel, Le Havre, the island of Tatihou and the observatory towers of Saint Vaast la Hougue. Alencon lace and the Bayeux tapestry are on UNESCO world memory list.

Normandy Regional Council USESCO Bid


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About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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